October 23, 2002
Yellow Beet Salad
posted by Carl

I've been exploring some local farmer's markets in the city this week. So far they've been a bit disappointing: only two or three vendors selling produce on the sidewalk. Today I found some small, organically grown, golden beets that caught my fancy though. There were some similar yellow beets in a salad we had at Bella and I'd had some luck with beets in salads before so I picked up some mixed greens as well.

I roasted the beets as I normally do — wrapped in tin foil in a 400° oven for about 45 minutes. I think I took the beets out a bit too early because most of them were still a little hard in the center. To compensate for the slightly underdone beets, as well as to enrich their mild (when compared to red beets) flavor, I cut the roasted beets into a quarter inch dice and sautéed them in butter with some shallots. I sprinkled the beets and shallots over the greens like some sort of vegetal croutons and then decoratively placed a few thin slices of beets on top of all.

In the past, I've paired beets with something creamy like goat cheese or crème fraîche but since we didn't have any on the house I had to get my cream fix elsewhere. I was thinking some sort of creamy salad dressing. We have made a number of mayonnaise-based salad dressings that are usually quite tasty, however, we never work from a recipe and thus can rarely remember exactly what it is that we put in each one. Each time we make a new one, we basically start from scratch. They all have a base of mayonnaise, chopped shallots, oil and vinegar, but after that the particulars (and amounts) diverge. Sometimes there's lemon juice, sometimes there's mustard and sometimes it's mustard powder. Usually there's something sweet, but that could be maple syrup or black currant preserves. Today I decided to use a base of mostly sour cream to give it more of a crème fraîche feeling. Also the white pepper added an unexpected, though not unpleasant, spiciness. In the recipe below, I've got all the ingredients right but I'm very much guessing on the amounts so caveat coquus.

Spicy Creamy Salad Dressing

3 tbs sour cream
2 tbs mayonnaise
1 tbs mustard powder
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp red wine vinegar
2-3 tsp white balsamic vinegar
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 tbs olive oil
white pepper

Mix everything together. The measures are all estimates so taste as you go and adjust the amounts accordingly.